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Trump intends to move US embassy to Jerusalem, Palestinian president says

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This morning President Donald Trump called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to notify him of his intention to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a spokesperson for President Abbas. Trump also called Jordan’s King Abdullah to notify him, according to reports out of Jordan.

Israeli press is also reporting Trump made additional calls to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, to relate his plans.

Trump is expected to announce his plans tomorrow. 

Channel 2’s Dana Weiss, the reporter who broke the story that Trump plans to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this week, commented on social media that Trump and Netanyahu coordinated the move in advance, intentionally leaving Abbas and Arab heads of state in the dark until today.

Late this afternoon, Netanyahu’s office emailed reporters that the Israeli prime minister will make a speech at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria tomorrow, immediately following Trump’s remarks.

Responses from Ramallah reflect shock. Abbas had a frenzied morning after his talks with Trump, reaching out to U.S. allies and foreign influencers, including Vladimir Putin, in a last-ditch effort to change the course of U.S. policy. The Palestinian leader also phoned pleas to Morocco and Jordan, according to the Palestinian outlet Wafa.

Earlier today, Wafa reported details about Trump’s call to Abbas stating his intention to move the embassy. Abbas “warned of the dangerous repercussions of such step on the [long-stalled] peace process, security and stability in the region and the world,” according to his spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

The PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi said moving the embassy would “guarantee the destruction of the two-state solution.” She chided Trump for ignoring “repeated words of advice and caution from all concerned and from global leaders.” She went on:

“President Trump seems to be hell-bent on annihilating the chances of peace and destroying the stability and security of the entire region and beyond, provoking violence and playing into the hands of extremists and terrorists around the world. He is willfully committing an act of the utmost folly which is not only illegal but also designed to inflame religious and spiritual sentiments, and raise the specter of sectarianism and religious strife.”

For the Palestinian leadership, Trump’s Jerusalem gambit would constitute a betrayal of agreements signed during the Oslo peace process in the 1990’s. Palestinians were promised that the status of the capital, Jerusalem, was part of negotiations that would ultimately give them sovereignty.

With the exception of Russia, which recently recognized West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, no country acknowledges Israel’s claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem. No country has an embassy in Jerusalem.

That U.S. commitment on Jerusalem was circulated on social media in the hours after Trump and Abbas’ call by spokesperson for the PLO, Xavier Abu-Eid, who posted a copy of a 1991 letter from James Baker that has guided American policy for nearly three-decades in brokering Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

“The United States understands how much importance Palestinians attach to the question of east Jerusalem,” Baker wrote, “Thus, we want to assure you that nothing Palestinians do in choosing their delegation members in this phase of the process will affect their claim to east Jerusalem, or be prejudicial or precedential to the outcome of negotiations. It remains the firm position of the United States that Jerusalem must never again be a divided city and that its final status should be decided by negotiations.”

Baker also said in no uncertain terms that the U.S. does “not recognize Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem” and encouraged “all sides to avoid unilateral acts that would exacerbate local tensions or make negotiations more difficult or preempt their final outcome.”

Today in Washington State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert declined to state Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s position on moving the embassy and skirted questions about a travel warning issued by the U.S. Consul-General in Jerusalem barring government employees from visiting Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, in anticipation of “widespread calls for demonstrations.”

Many journalists posited that Trump will not move the embassy, and instead through a statement will recognize it as Israel’s capital. Although, no sources are on the record to confirm this.

On MSNBC, White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski reported that Trump will sign the latest waiver, meaning that the U.S. Embassy will stay in Tel Aviv for another six months, but that he will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announce his intention to move the embassy there ultimately. Bloomberg is reporting the same.

Aaron David Miller described such an outcome as disastrous: it will “set the stage perhaps for violence” and undermine the U.S. role as a broker in a peace process that is “comatose” anyway.

“Jerusalem is a tinderbox waiting for a match,” Miller said. The President could seek to balance his announcement by saying that the U.S. intends to recognize a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, but “that would drive the Israelis crazy” and antagonize the political forces Trump is seeking to placate with the announcement.

Martin Indyk postulated that Trump’s strategy is to: “sign waiver for last time; order relocation of embassy in next 6 months; recognize J’m as Israel’s capital; and recognize Pal aspiration to have east J’m as their capital, to be decided in negotiations.”

The liberal Zionist group J Street issued an alarmed statement saying the reported plan is a “profound mistake” that reverses longstanding U.S. policy, and only 20 percent of US Jews support the idea.

The effect of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or of declaring that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital prior to a negotiated agreement will be to anger key Arab allies, foment regional instability and undermine nascent US diplomatic efforts to resolve the larger conflict.

Americans for Peace Now has called the plan “pyromaniacal” and a gift to those looking “to blow up a peace process before it begins.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition is excited by the news.

Obama’s ambassador to Israel approved the plan but said Trump should use the shift to “make clear the context in which our (still-delayed, but impending) embassy move will take place: US determination to achieve a conflict-ending two-state solution in which both parties have capitals in a unified city of Jerusalem.”

This article was updated at 5:30 p.m.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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53 Responses

  1. eljay on December 5, 2017, 1:02 pm

    I can’t for the life of me understand why Trump would want do something so colossally stupid as move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

    “I’m very pro-Israel. … ”

    ” … it doesn’t help if I start saying– I’m very pro-Israel. Very. More than anybody on the stage. But it doesn’t do any good to start demeaning the neighbors because I would love to do something with regard to negotiating peace peace, finally for Israel, and for their neighbors… As a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides. With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.”

    “I am a great friend of Israel. I was the Grand Marshal of the Israeli Day Parade… I have so many friends. In fact one of them, one of my great friends — where is Jared, my son-in-law? Where is he? My son-in-law is Jewish, and he’s fantastic … So, there is nobody closer — and Bibi Netanyahu asked me to do a commercial for him, for his campaign. I did a commercial for him.”

    Oh, right.

    • Mooser on December 5, 2017, 1:24 pm

      “I can’t for the life of me understand why Trump would want do something so colossally stupid as move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”

      I agree. Why would Trump want to create any distractions at this time?

      • eljay on December 5, 2017, 1:51 pm

        || Mooser: … I agree. Why would Trump want to create any distractions at this time? ||

        If a distraction is what he needs, he could just convert to Judaism and instantly become an ancient Judean. He could then accuse his enemies of anti-Semitism and “Jew hatred”.

        I’m very pro-me. Very. More than anybody on the stage. I was the Grand Marshal of the Israeli Day Parade…you know, celebrating my ancient and eternal homeland. I’m Jewish and I’m fantastic. I asked myself to do commercials for my products and I did a commercial for myself…lots of commercials, and they were the best commercials in the history of commercials, let me tell you. They were great. And I was great. Believe me.

      • Citizen on December 5, 2017, 5:35 pm


        So, is it better for us to cringe at Trump’s ignorant and stupid language logic, or at Obama & Hillary’s adroit language, when both schools end up screwing humanity’s best wishes?

      • echinococcus on December 6, 2017, 4:05 am


        One thing for which Trump still remains miles above the rest of the other cockroaches, especially the Democrats, is that he calls his shots. First requirement of democracy.

    • Citizen on December 5, 2017, 1:40 pm

      “As a negotiator, I cannot do that as well if I’m taking big, big sides. With that being said, I am totally pro-Israel.””

      Sure has a way with words, eh?

      • Mooser on December 5, 2017, 2:08 pm

        And we thought President Obama was a well-spoken man who measured his words.

    • Marnie on December 5, 2017, 11:41 pm

      Not a bit of bias in that, not at all. But then again, he’s only loyal to himself and I kind of think that he’s actually jerking everyone around. I mean, he wouldn’t want to make things bad in israel so soon before his son-in-law and the wife and kids (maybe just Jared) will need to skip the country when he’s indicted? Maybe daddy will build them a wall of their very own….

    • CigarGod on December 6, 2017, 12:04 am

      To start wars. More wars than anyone else, trust me. No one else has started bigger ones. The ratings will be thru the roof.
      My wars will be an instrument of virtue (this last part written by a speech writer in the Whitehouse who reads Chris Hedges).

  2. Ossinev on December 5, 2017, 1:29 pm

    Must be something going on behind the scenes – the twit isn`t tweeting on this one. Oh wait a minute it isn`t in the US yet. Still lots of time and of course if the brown stuff hits the fan tomorrow he can always do his Trumpersault 360 and blame it all on biased media and their fake news.

  3. Citizen on December 5, 2017, 1:36 pm

    Will be interesting to watch & compare if discussed on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CSPANWJ, PBS news.

  4. Maghlawatan on December 5, 2017, 1:58 pm

    It’s distraction. But very expensive. Americans will die.
    And it is a declaration of war . Zionism vs Islam.

    Only one winner long term.
    The first temple fell after an invasion from the west. The second fell after one from the east. How will the third fall?

    • Citizen on December 5, 2017, 5:38 pm

      Nobody influential in USA cares about the Americans that will die, except their familie–the other 1%s. The rest of the victims? Nobody influential cares.

  5. zaid on December 5, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Finally some good news.
    it is about time we the Palestinians stop accepting the US to be the mediators.
    The ties we have with the US always restricted us from taking real measures to achieve our freedoms.

  6. Kaisa of Finland on December 5, 2017, 3:37 pm

    I hope most of the Europe will oppose and send a clear message to both U.S. and Israel. Trump’s move on this issue will feel devastating for the Palestinians, but it might also force the European countries take a clearer stand on I/P. There might be Trump, Kushner, Saudis and their allies, but other than that, remains to be seen..

    “Germany Urges Against U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem: ‘We Must Spell Out Limits of Our Solidarity'”

    • Citizen on December 5, 2017, 5:42 pm

      Yes, Germany might at long last step up to the plate–that 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

    • Marnie on December 6, 2017, 8:05 am

      On a different note, happy 100th birthday Finland – ;^)

      • Kaisa of Finland on December 6, 2017, 9:14 am


        “On a different note, happy 100th birthday Finland..”

        Thanks Marnie!! With our history and neighbours, these 100 years were never a self-evidence and that is why I am going to dedicate our 100th birthday for the freedom and the human rights of the Palestinians!

        So peace and justice for everyone!!

      • John O on December 6, 2017, 9:49 am

        Looking forward to this evening, as the BBC broadcast a live concert of Sibelius music to celebrate the anniversary.

      • Kaisa of Finland on December 6, 2017, 10:25 am


        Have you ever heard Finlandia Hymn by Sibelius?? The song has always been very important to Finns and the lyrics get even another perspective, when following this eternal show called “Peacetalks of the Middle East”.. This oppression will end, since nothing in this world lasts forever, but I wish it will happen soon. It has lasted too long already.

        (Chorus starting at 5.08)

      • Kaisa of Finland on December 6, 2017, 11:00 am

        BTW, when ever I start to feel like getting a fair solution for the Palestinians is so far and Israel with strong allies, I remember my mother saying that in 1950’s and 1960’s no-one believed that Soviet Union would ever collapse, but only few decades later, it did. And the Berlin Wall broke down in 1989..

        So everything is possible as long as there is opposition and resistance.

      • Mooser on December 6, 2017, 12:59 pm

        “On a different note, happy 100th birthday Finland”

        Been reading about Finland squeezed, quite often, between Germany and Russia. They’ve not had an easy time of it.

      • gamal on December 6, 2017, 5:04 pm

        “Been reading about Finland squeezed, quite often, between Germany and Russia”

        and yet Finland is regarded as a world leader in terms of Educational and Penal policies, very impressive check them out.

  7. Maghlawatan on December 5, 2017, 3:39 pm

    Very good article

    Trump is the right person to do this. He is a scumbag. Like the Zionist leadership.

    • pabelmont on December 5, 2017, 5:46 pm

      He’s also a total idiot and egomaniac who cannot see that there might be a downside to doing whatever he wants to do. Here, I’d say, there just might be a downside.

      On the positive side, he does stick with his friends (and those who know how to play him as a friend).

      • Mooser on December 6, 2017, 12:01 pm

        “On the positive side, he does stick with his friends (and those who know how to play him as a friend)”

        But Mueller keeps on flipping them, and/or arresting them.

  8. JustJessetr on December 5, 2017, 8:36 pm

    Even if this was the right move, and it’s not, Trump is not the one I would trust to lead this charge. Everytime he makes a move or opens his mouth he shows he is clearly out of his depth.

  9. Mooser on December 5, 2017, 9:20 pm

    So I guess this is Jared Kushner’s contribution to ME peace!

  10. Eva Smagacz on December 5, 2017, 9:34 pm

    It is not correct that Russia recognised West Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

    Russia merely stated intention that they are prepared to recognise West Jerusalem as capital of Israel as part of comprehensive peace plan (which, of course has not not happened and now is not likely to happen), which is not the same as outright recognition.

    This important nuance has been completely lost (or deliberately omitted) from western media reporting.61/70

  11. ahadhaadam on December 5, 2017, 9:55 pm

    Arabs are powerless and Trump knows that. The Saudis will keep pumping oil and spending their oil money on American weapons, Sisi will still be bootlicking, Abbas is a non-entity, Syria and Lybia are no longer viable states, Iraq is under the American thumb. All the Arab leaders are left to do is wipe the spit off their faces and pretend it was rain and go back to business as usual. Whenever we think Arab states have hit rock bottom, they always seem to find a lower one.

    • Citizen on December 6, 2017, 4:11 am

      The average Arab, the masses, in the Middle East has no power, same as in, for example, the USA?

  12. Marnie on December 5, 2017, 11:52 pm

    Trump to call Jerusalem Israel’s capital, move embassy
    26 minutes ago
    Al Jazeera

    US President Donald Trump will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and direct the state department to begin the lengthy process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, according to senior Trump administration officials.

    The announcement, which is expected at 18:00 GMT on Wednesday, comes amid global condemnation of the move.

    The officials said in a briefing that Trump’s expected announcement is “recognition of a reality”.

    Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

    They say that a US move to relocate the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict – the status of Jerusalem – and undermine any attempt by Washington to restart the so-called peace process.

    US officials said that Trump “remains committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians and is optimistic that peace can be achieved”.

    But Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada said that one would have to have been “living on another planet for the last few decades to believe that the US was ever an honest broker”.

    “What [Trump’s move] achieves is truth in advertising,” he told Al Jazeera.

    “It is a more honest expression of American policy, which is to support Israel unconditionally, including Israel’s illegal colonisation and settlement-building in East Jerusalem,” he said, adding that “this has effectively been US policy for many, many years and Trump is simply coming out and being open about it”.

    This move by the u.s. couldn’t be a more clear declaration of war on Islam, and with a specific, ‘special’, ‘beautiful’ nod to their jewish/zionist owners, a war on Palestinians, signed, sealed and delivered with a big fat hechsher in the likeness of the orange don.

    • Citizen on December 6, 2017, 4:15 am

      CNN just announced it, at 4:14 AM EST, Dec 6.

      A hechsher (/hɛxʃər/; Hebrew: הֶכְשֵׁר‎‎ [ˈheχʃeʁ] “prior approval”; plural: hechsherim) is a rabbinical product certification, qualifying items (usually foods) that conform to the requirements of halakha.

  13. Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 2:05 am

    Nobody in Israel is thinking long term.  The holy days mark points of Jewish weakness. They were all overcome . The World turns . Empires fall.  They all do. Power goes too far. Israel will also collapse. And there will be no mercy for the merciless .

  14. Citizen on December 6, 2017, 4:57 am

    MSNBC now: pundit Jill Colvin from AP WH reporter says Trump will keep embassy in Tel Aviv for now, even as he vocally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I guess this means he will sign the waiver of official recognition again yet also declare it’s effectively waived by POTUS public declaration? WTF?

    Is this a strategy to make Arab countries sH** or get off the pot officially? Does Kushner think the EU nations will also officially bow to Israel’s “facts on the ground”?

  15. Citizen on December 6, 2017, 5:17 am

    MSNBC: pundit Ned Price says Trump’s move is not an America First policy interest. Says Trump’s unilateral decision negates role of US as fair broker; gives nothing to Palestinians to come to peace talk table. Says current Israeli regime is very extreme, and its far from clear it all make Israeli Jews safer, but maybe the opposite.

  16. nelle on December 6, 2017, 10:00 am

    MSNBC is a tad late in catching up. Israeli Jews have not been “safe” since European Jews invaded Palestine and colonized it. Granted, today’s Israeli fascism has been a lit match to anti-Semitism around the world (although no Jewish organization will face that fact), and now, Trump’s latest masterpiece of arrogance, ignorance, stupidity, bluster, and greed is sure to create forest fires everywhere. But the existence of a settler-colonial state in the heart of the Middle East has made Jews like me renounce our Judaism (I did so during one or another murderous invasion of Gaza by Israel), and has, I repeat, increased anti-Semitism world-wide. What is surprising to me is that no columnist I’ve read has expressed this idea, which Israeli-Jewish dissidents articulated years ago. Trump is a master of divide-and-smash, divide-and-obliterate, divide-and-create-wars. This seems to be his magnum opus to date.

    • on December 6, 2017, 2:58 pm

      Nelle- I agree trump is arrogant and stupid but I don’t believe he is a master at anything else. I honestly believe he is incapable of any deep thinking and makes moves based on his whims including hiring and deferring to idiots like his son in law.

  17. Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 10:04 am

    So fucking shortsighted. The Nazis are still winning

    In London, the Jewish Board of Deputies president, Jonathan Arkush, welcomed Trump’s decision, saying it was bizarre that it should be seen as remarkable.

    “Jerusalem has been the spiritual centre of Jewish life for 3,000 years, since the time of King David,” he said. “Given that Jerusalem is in fact historically, presently and legally Israel’s capital, the decision by many countries not to formally recognise this has been an act of post-truth petulance.”

  18. Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 10:07 am

    Arch bot Freedland

    You see, Israel needs the peace process sham to win the land. Pissing off peasants in Indonesia and Pakistan and Iran who force their leaders to respond is insane.

    Israelis won’t be safe anywhere .

  19. Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 10:17 am

    Jerusalem is politically radioactive. The only site that comes anywhere close is Ayodhya in the Ganges valley, holy to Muslims and Hindus.

    2 songs come to mind

    Zahrat Al Madaen by Fairuz explains what the city means to middle easterners

    Sanso ki mala is about religious tolerance. Nusrat is Pakistani and sang it during his first concert in India

    Judaism is in a dance macabre with violence. The Nazis messed up the code.

  20. Ronald Johnson on December 6, 2017, 10:54 am

    You may notice that, according to MSNBC, President Trump is cornered. It is only a matter of time until impeachment.

    President Trump’s gambit will have the benefit of gaining the support of US Zionist billionaires and other fans of Israel, in his Russian tribulation – and other assorted conflicts of interest, dirty business deals, his declared ill-use of women.

    Recall that the founding of Israel required the suborning of President Truman to sacrifice the National Interest for the sake of winning re-election. Thomas E. Dewey was similarly eager to pander to Zionism, but perhaps without the direct advice of the Secretaries Marshall and Forrestal.

    And behold ! “TRUMAN BEATS DEWEY”.

    But of course, the mention of James Forrestal recalls the 2010 Mondoweiss article about him – and the putative ruthlessness of the Zionists:

  21. Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 11:46 am

    The world doesnt buy thé Zionist narrative of Jewish land when 5m people have no rights . This is the Achilles heel.
    This will destroy Israel.
    How ironic. Judaism and justice

  22. Kaisa of Finland on December 6, 2017, 2:21 pm

    “”I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said from the White House.

    “It’s the right thing to do.”

    The declaration calls into question seven decades of deliberate diplomatic ambiguity about the final status of a holy city vociferously claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

    Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, making good on a campaign promise dear to evangelical Christian and right wing Jewish voters — as well as donors.

    He said his decision marked the start of a “new approach” to solving the thorny conflict between Israel and the Palestinians..”

    As we say in Finnish, this is like “diging blood from your own nose”: After this there will be no sympathy, compassion or understanding for these Ziokings from outside their own “bubble”. As we also say: “The greedy ones have a shitty ending.”

  23. catalan on December 6, 2017, 3:18 pm

    Many commenters here and some of the staff were/are virulently anti-Hillary and encouraged abstaining or voting third party in the last election. The Bernie or Bust movement now sees what Bust looks like.

    • Mooser on December 6, 2017, 3:40 pm

      “Many commenters here and some of the staff were/are virulently anti-Hillary”

      Well “catalan”, as you say:

      “People with my kind of money are very few and they mostly don’t vote democratic anyway.” “Catalan”

      but I suppose we should be grateful you are here to give advice to us poors. Especially as high up in the brackets as you are. People with your kind of pelf are “very few”.

    • Maghlawatan on December 6, 2017, 4:38 pm

      Trump guarantees a stock market crash that the Fed will not be able to refloat cos interest rates are on the floor. Your 401k is a Ponzi scheme, catalan.

    • Keith on December 6, 2017, 7:07 pm

      CATALAN- “The Bernie or Bust movement now sees what Bust looks like.”

      Six of one? A half dozen of the other? As long as Janet Yellen, Lloyd Blankfein and the Council on Foreign Relations are there to keep our neoliberal course steady, we can all rest assured that things will continue to worsen regardless of who the imperial executive is. A little more, a little less, but nothing which the fat-cats don’t approve. A vote for either corporate candidate is a vote for the corporate agenda. Period.

      • catalan on December 6, 2017, 8:53 pm

        “As long as Janet Yellen, Lloyd Blankfein and the Council on Foreign Relations are there to keep our neoliberal course steady…”,
        I don’t know about Blankfein but Yellen’s term is about over and she has been replaced by a Christian, Powell. But Yellen’s job was essentially very short term interest rates. So if the current interest rate here is neoliberal, what would be a more socialist interest rate?

      • Keith on December 7, 2017, 12:40 am

        CATALAN- “So if the current interest rate here is neoliberal, what would be a more socialist interest rate?”

        Since I am not a socialist, I don’t know. However, claiming that the Fed’s primary focus was short term interest rates is disingenuous. The Fed and the federal government literally threw money at the banks instead of promoting a sustainable economy. The essence of neoliberalism is the privitazation of virtually everything culminating in neo-feudalism. The rule of the rentiers!

        “Each time this global system has broken down over the past century, the major destabilizing force has been American over-reach and the drive by its bankers and bondholders for short-term gains. The dollar-centered financial system is leaving more industrial as well as Third World countries debt-strapped. Its three institutional pillars – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization – have imposed monetary, fiscal and financial dependency, most recently by the post-Soviet Baltics, Greece and the rest of southern Europe. The resulting strains are now reaching the point where they are breaking apart the arrangements put in place after World War II.” (Michael Hudson)

        CATALAN- “I don’t know about Blankfein but Yellen’s term is about over and she has been replaced by a Christian, Powell.”

        Powell is a financial insider, hence, he, like Yellen, worships money and power. As an aside, I am surprised that Trump nominated Powell rather than Stanley Fischer.

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